RB Leipzig have set a price of £100m for Christopher Nkunku, with the 24-year-old preferring to stay this summer, potentially frustrating a series of clubs but also setting up one of the sagas of 2023.
Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain have all looked into signing the player, who this season had a break-out campaign playing as a striker.
Liverpool’s interest is expected to end for the time being after the purchase of Darwin Nunez from Benfica, but United’s failure to sign the Uruguayan had seen the club hierarchy consider a more solid approach for Nkunku.
Leipzig have set a high price for the player and convinced him another season in the Bundesliga is better for his career, with the French international now expected to sign an extension complete with a release clause.
While Arsenal and PSG would be willing to go to £100m, United are unlikely to do so this summer. Their budget is for around £120m before sales, and one reason put forward for the failure to sign Nunez was that they refused to budge from a valuation that was £20m less than Benfica’s. Nunez eventually went to Liverpool for £85m, with £64m paid up front.
The feeling is that Erik ten Hag sees midfield as a higher priority, so the major purchase is hoped to be Frenkie de Jong. There remains a difference between United’s valuation and that of Barcelona, too, but the situation is leveraged towards Old Trafford by the Camp Nou club’s need to sell to balance their budget.
United have also investigated a deal for another of Ten Hag’s former players at Ajax, Antony, who would offer balance as a left-footed winger.